Safelite AutoGlass has recycled 4 million windshields in partnership with Shark Glass Recycling North America since 2012.
“Windshields are made from laminated glass, which is created using two sheets of glass with a clear resin interlay called Polyvinyl Butyral (PVB) between. The PVB keeps the glass together when damaged but also makes it difficult to separate from the glass to re-purpose,” says Deb Tschofen, Safelite’s senior corporate buyer who oversees the recycling program.
Shark Glass Recycling North America processes glass from Safelite’s customers using patented technology that separates the glass from PVB. Approximately 90 percent becomes “glass cullet,” which can then be recycled into a number of new products including fiberglass insulation. Approximately 7 percent becomes PVB scrap, which is recycled into useable materials for a number of new products such as carpet backing, paint and primer, and other products, according to a statement from Safelite.
Educating employees to package and return damaged windshields has been key to the success of the recycling program, according to the company. The markets returning the most tonnage are Taunton and Boston, Mass., followed by Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Atlanta.
“We are proud to be one of the few companies with the capability to recycle windshields,” says Tom Feeney, Safelite AutoGlass president and CEO. “It’s just one of the many things on our long list of ‘green’ business practices that we believe our customers expect from us.”